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Hiker on a mountain | AccountingWEB | The art of going above and beyond
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How finance directors go above and beyond

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Finance Director of the Year, Becky Glover, discusses the importance of having several strings to her bow as she reflects on her rise up the ranks.

8th May 2024
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At 17, Becky Glover left school without an A Level to her name and no plans to go to university. Now, she’s an award-winning finance director who cares about more than just the numbers, as she looks to help women continue to make progress in the accounting industry and highlight the value of apprenticeships.

The bigger picture

Glover is a strong advocate for businesses being about people.

“I think business – in my brain, how I like to break it down – is just a group of people, all working towards a goal that also helps others.

“So there has to be a big, big element of what works for them, or the customers or the suppliers. I don't think it can just be about numbers and I’ve always thought about it in that way.”

She believes that those in similar roles who think about it in the “nitty gritty pounds and pence are losing the bigger picture”.

“That’s why I love being in industry instead of in practice because you can get under the skin of the business and start making some great changes that can positively affect what it actually does.

“Although, I think it's only when you get to a certain level in a business or you start doing certain things within it that you can make some real impact. So being number one in finance, being on the board of directors – that's when I can make a massive difference.”

Glover - who won Finance Director of the Year at the Accounting Excellence Awards 2023 for her role at Yutree Insurance - backs the idea of a senior figure having a few strings to their bow.

“You need to be able to understand all of the little bits to make sure your business is going in the right direction but also then your numbers and reporting on the things that will help other people make great decisions.”

Vital piece of the puzzle

In getting to the position she’s in now, Glover stressed that apprenticeships “were the vital piece of the puzzle to connect what I did at school and the world of work”.

“They opened doors for me when other people had graduate schemes so it will always have a special place in my heart because that's what helped me.

“I also think it's really valuable because university isn't for everyone. People think you're either academic or you're not and if you're not, you don't go to university. But a lot of people also have responsibilities and commitments at home, whether that be caring for parents or maybe their mental health doesn't allow them to move away.

“It's not just ‘Are you academic or are you not?’”

Becky Glover | AccountingWEB | Finance directors going above and beyond
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She believes apprenticeships “fill a massive gap for people that don't want to go to university and I think we need to make people more aware of it”.

“It's not just a case of going to university or your career dies. So that's what I'm trying to get across.

“From a business point of view, apprenticeships are brilliant. You can bring people in directly from school and train them exactly the way you want them to be trained. Or you can get different people that are doing a career change and they're super hungry and know what route they're going to take.”

Glover concluded, “I hope more people do it.”

Supporting women

Glover is also a huge advocate of supporting women in accounting and related industries, stressing that while progress is being made there’s still “quite a long way to go”.

Having worked in male-dominated businesses across industries including finance, insurance, biotech and software, it’s now a “bit of a norm” for Glover to be in that sort of environment “but that doesn't mean to say that I think of it as the right thing, which is why I'm always trying to be more visible for other women, trying to bring them together and share ideas”.

“With the role that I’m in now, there's a real thread running through the business where they genuinely care and want to make a difference.

“For example, maybe there would be a time where perhaps the male voices in a meeting were being a little bit louder than the female voices. There would be people there that would say, ‘Okay, thanks for your opinion. Now, what do you think?’, just enabling that two-sided conversation and that's valuable.

“I'm going to continue to bang the drum and make sure there's a safe space for women, make sure that they get a little bit of confidence and are able to be seen so they can keep going up the career ladder.”

Disparity

Glover shone a light on the disparity between how certain conversations are held.

“People still ask, ‘How do you do it all? How do you fit all of this into your life?’ And you have to think, would you ask that to a man? No, you wouldn't. You would just say, ‘Great you're so busy’.

“So there's definitely an underlying thought process that needs to change or needs to be brought out there because maybe some people don't even realise what they're saying. It’s maybe more social conditioning.

“I don't think there's actual negativity coming out towards what I or other women in finance do. We’re getting there.”

Above and beyond

Glover’s final point was on what excellence looks like as a financial director, which boils down to “going above and beyond to get great results for your business but also great results for stakeholders, all the people that it touches”.

“That’s not just looking at the numbers but looking at the wider business and seeing how you can make a positive impact on the world that we live in.”

The Finance Director of the Year award – sponsored by Iplicit – recognises the stand-out individual contribution of an in-house finance director. The category is for FDs and finance leaders who are not only experts in their field but show a genuinely innovative approach to the wider challenges facing the accounting profession. If that sounds like you, enter today.

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